Hookshot and traversal mechanics in The Legend of Zelda Tears of the Kingdom

Breath of the Wild had many weapons, most of them breakable, but none as satisfying as perhaps the best weapon-slash-item in the Legend of Zelda series, and that’s the Hookshot. Today I want to take a look at the Hookshot, and why adding it into the upcoming Tears of the Kingdom would be a good idea, looking at gameplay mechanics, traversal, and how Link’s new arm could play a huge role in the overall gameplay mechanics of the sequel to Breath of the Wild.

Before we get into it today let me know in the comments if you want to see the hookshot return to The Legend of Zelda Tears of the Kingdom, and share your favourite hookshot stories down there in the comments. My favourite hookshot has to be from Legend of Zelda: Link to the Past.

The Legend of Zelda: Tears of the Kingdom isn’t too far away now, just over 100 days, and we can’t be a long way from a Zelda Direct. One topic Nintendo hopefully will cover in a Zelda showcase or direct is gameplay, and how they intend to make gameplay different from Breath of the Wild. One glaring admission from Breath of the Wild was one of the most popular weapons or items from the series as a whole, and that’s the Hookshot. Breath of the Wild took the series in a different direction, being much more open and free, off the linear path, but the ommission of the hookshot was an oversight, which Nintendo can fix in their upcoming release.

There’s plenty of excitment in the Zelda community related to Tears of the Kingdom, and why not? It’s not often we have a mainline Zelda release, but we still don’t know too much about the game, especially the gameplay mechanics and what differentiates this title from Breath of the Wild. Tears of the Kingdom’s unqiue selling point appears to be the Sky Islands and it’s likely Link will be traveling up and down very often, making the prospect of a grapple hook, or a hoot shot very appealing, in a game where traversal is going to be all important. Before we look ahead to Tears of the Kingdom, let’s have a brief look back at Breath of the Wild, and why we didn’t see the Hookshot there.

Hookshot in Breath of the Wild

We didn’t see a traditional Hookshot in Breath of the Wild, and that might be because it was cut content from the game. Eiji Aonuma has been very open related to the development of Breath of the Wild, and we’ve even seen concept artwork of Link’s arm attachments that didn’t make it into the 2017 Zelda game. Aonuma has said himself that the reason they wanted to make Tears of the Kingdom, was because they had so many good ideas for DLC, but they weren’t able to fit it all in, therefore started making a rare Zelda sequel. The concept artwork shows off Link’s arm having different attachments, one hammer-like, one like a Beetle from Skyward Sword, one like a bow, one even firing a bomb, plus one that resembles the hookshot. We only saw sketches of these concepts, rather than them making them into in-game prototypes or anything like that, so it’s possible the hookshot.

I would imagine Aonuma and the Zelda team are looking at ways to improve upon many aspects of Breath of the Wild, and the traversal mechanics could be one area where they could work their magic. The grapple shot, or hookshot has been successfully deployed in recent or upcoming games including Halo Infinite, the upcoming Destiny 2 Lightfall expansion, then we have Spider-man 2 coming later in 2023, the follow up to 2018’s Spider-man and Mile Morales. I’m not expecting Link to be running around Hyrule like Spider-man flies around New York, but I do think it has the potential to dramaticaqlly improve on the traversal around Hyrule.

Link’s Arm could be the key tool

In Breath of the Wild we woke up on the Great Plateau, picked up our Sheikah Slate and were introduced to our runes very early on in the game, effectively given all our tools we needed to solve all the upcoming puzzles. In Tears of the Kingdom, I don’t think we’re going to have access to our Sheikah Slate, and I think Link’s arm is going to be the key to unlocking new gameplay mechanics. We’ve seen in the trailers so far Link reaching out and appearing to interact with time, Link’s arm could be the interactive item similar to the Sheikah Slate from Breath of the Wild, only this time we can do multiple different things with the arm.

It’s possible Nintendo could realise their ideas of having different attachments for Link’s arm, and that’s the way we get our Hookshot, rather than having to find it in a traditional Zelda way through a Dungeon or our there in Hyrule. In Breath of the Wild’s tutorial we had the Great Plateau, this time I think we’re going to have that interaction with Ganonsdorf’s Corpse, Zelda will fall through the floor and we’ll be transported to an island in the sky with our melted Master Sword and messed up arm.

Hookshot in Tears of the Kingdom

New traversal mechanics would be very welcome in Tears of the Kingdom. In Breath of the Wild we coudl get around on foot, or on our trusty horse, however, a way to zip around quickly and easily would be very useful. Tears of the Kingdom looks different to Breath of the Wild, in that it’s going to be much more vertical. In the trailers so far we’ve see ragged-Link climbing what looks to be big roots, which appear to be high in the sky, and maybe he got up there using his hookshot.

We have seen a couple of new additions in the teaser trailers so far. First we’ve seen a huge new glider, which Link lands on after a skydive, jumping off one of the sky islands. This looks like some kind of sky horse, which is going to allow us to travel far and hopefully quickly in the sky. We’ve also seen Link using a flamethrowing, although he’s using his left arm for this one, and this looks like it’s related to the Zonai in some way, given it’s a Dragon’s head he’s wearing on his arm, although the Dragon and fire go together very well too. Time manipulation is another trick up Link’s sleeve in Tears of the Kingdom, and we’ve seen him use it on a couple of occasions – first stopping some projectile fall down a hill towards us, then next by using it to travel high into the sky, looking like he’s reversing something falling, and grabbing it to travel upwards.

Looking at the Sky Islands in the trailers so far they are a mass of interconnected pieces of Hyrule that have floated into the sky. Link is going to need a way to jump and climb his way onto these sky islands, so having something like the Hookshot to help him get up there in the first place is going to be useful. I would imagine Link travelling up to the first sky island with the method we see in the name reveal trailer, Link reversing time and grabbing onto something. But when Link is amongst the Sky Islands, and he needs to go up just a little, I don’t think it’d make sense to repeat the time reversal mechanic over and over, it would make much more sense to grapple between sky islands, and keep the traversal nice and easy through his arm.

In previous Zelda games we’ve seen the Hookshot used in traditional ways, helping Link to get across gaps, helping Link fend of enemies from a distance, and grabbing items. Sometimes in Zelda games we’ve been restricted to only using the hookshot on certain surfaces, but Nintendo could really shake things up by opening up the hookshot to be used on nearly any surface. That would allow Link to have much more rapid and fluid movement through Hyrule. We could see Link use the Hookshot to gain momentum to smash himself into an enemy, or we could use it to escape from some kind of Sky Guardian. For me the Hookshot is such an iconic item, I think if Nintendo didn’t include it in Tears of the Kingdom, especially given the vertical nature of the game, they’re going to miss a trick.

We don’t have to wait too long now. The Legend of Zelda Tears of the Kingdom is due to release on 12 May 2023, and we should be seeing some focused Zelda marketing very soon from Nintendo. Keep an eye out for a hookshot, and let me know down in the comments when you see it.

That’s it for this look at the hookshot returning to Tears of the Kingdom, and it’s role in traversal. For more Legend of Zelda content like this check out Triforce Times on YouTube and subscribe today.

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